BUTUAN CITY, July 14 -- The Social Security System (SSS) won a case against a woman who misrepresented herself to claim the monthly pension benefit of her mother.
The Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 100 convicted Angelina Vergara for misrepresenting herself as her deceased mother, Corazon Vergara, to continue to receive the latter's death pension as a survivorship pensioner of the SSS.
SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel F. Dooc said that Vergara was sentenced to a minimum jail term of six years and one day, to a maximum of eight years for the violation of Section 28 of the Republic Act 8282 or Social Security Law.
“Even after her mother’s death on April 6, 1993, Vergara continuously received her mother’s pension through illegal withdrawals, amounting to overpayments of P180,732.71,” Dooc said.
Based on the decision from the RTC, the unauthorized withdrawals were discovered when Alfredo Vergara, the brother of the accused, received a letter for his mother from her depository bank. He immediately notified the bank of his mother's death, and was advised to report and present her death certificate to SSS.
Likewise, Elma Vergara, the sister of the accused issued a testimony in support to the investigation stating that Angelina did withdraw their mothers’ monthly pension.
During the hearing of the case, the accused pleaded guilty and paid an initial amount of P57,000 to settle her civil liability.
According to SSS Corporate Litigation Department Head and handling lawyer Atty. Henry C. Pablo, Vergara’s admission became a strong primary evidence which led to her conviction.
“The fact that the accused has obtained the cash benefits she is not entitled to made it clear that Vergara has the intention to defraud SSS,” Pablo said.
Aside from six to eight years of imprisonment, Vergara was also ordered to pay P123,732.71 worth of actual damages to SSS, subject to the payment of legal interest of six percent per annum.
“I hope that this case will serve as a constant reminder for everyone that it is a grave offense to claim SSS benefits that is not rightfully yours. SSS will not allow this unscrupulous act. Rest assured that the full strength of the law will be used to punish offenders,” Dooc concluded. (SSS/PIA-Caraga)